President Donald Trump said China will start purchasing U.S. farm goods “in large amounts.”
His comments came after his decision to delay increasing tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15 as a “gesture of good will” to China.
China’s Ministry of Commerce said Thursday Chinese companies have started asking prices of American agricultural products including soybeans and pork. The country halted the purchases in August when Trump abruptly ended the cease-fire. China’s agriculture buying has been a sticking point in the trade battle as Trump has repeatedly accused China of not following through its promise.
“Now as it relates to agriculture, we expect and we want them to buy agriculture; We view that as a personal attack on our farmers,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on CNBC’s Squawk Box Thursday. “They need our agriculture … This isn’t about just selling them soybeans, but we do want to sell them soybeans,” he said.
The two countries agreed to meet in early October in Washington and hold deputy-level discussions leading up to the meeting to lay the groundwork. Some insiders and observers expect this round of negotiation can lead to a breakthrough.
China’s Vice Premier Liu He, the nation’s top trade negotiator, said Thursday the deputy-level talks next week will surround issues including trade balance, market access and investor protection, China’s state-run media Xinhua said.
Mnuchin also told CNBC Trump could do a China trade pact at any time, but wants a “good” deal for U.S. workers.